Online games are big–so big that one of the biggest games played right now is free. Hundreds of thousands of people watch and play League of Legends. Not only that, but they spend money on it too, for things cosmetic skins or in-game boosts. The company is like a gold mine, with a game that mostly stays the same, keeps people addicted, and pushes out content made purely for money.
Online games are so big that they make other games on the steam store look puny. As of right now, and for the past year, the two top played games on Steam are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. Both games are MADE for their multiplayer components and various cosmetics. Judging by their followings on Twitch and Reddit, communities can’t get enough of them.
That is not to say that single player games themselves aren’t doing well either, with releases like the Witcher 3 and MGS 5–but it can’t be denied that people come back to online games consistently to build these gigantic player bases.
With all of these players, what could be wrong?
Why are players everywhere complaining about these games that so many people play, but at the same time, so many people hate?
Take this video for example:
One of the most popular, if not THE most popular YouTube League of Legends players is quitting league of legends. You can see in the video that everyone he matches up with are, for the most part, complete morons. That in turn makes him incredibly toxic. By matching up with random players, it’s a cycle of hate that makes the entire gaming experience just bad in general.
Dunkey isn’t alone, however. Tons of people have refused to play games like League of Legends anymore–MOBA games, because how much emphasis they put on teamwork but how little emphasis they put on community building.
There isn’t even clan features in League of Legends, in-game voice communication, or features that prevent people from being bad teammates. The same people Dunkey was playing with could have had a blast trolling with their friends, but he was looking for something different.
To be honest, I don’t blame League of Legends.
It’s hard to accomplish those things while making champions, balancing things, and well–just running a business. That’s what video games are at the end of the day after all.
So I’m not bashing League of Legends for what it does wrong, but rather using it as a good example of how persistently negative online gaming can, and has, become.
There’re other examples of games continuing the same sort of path as well. Game companies only want more, more, more! While companies can make tools to ban people, they often backfire or skirt around the issue, or chose the path that is the least risky. The community, for the most part, is our responsibility.
Is there an answer?
Finding friends to play games with can be simple. Maybe you had some that carried over from college, or maybe you found one at a bar. You’re just Mr.Popular, or you’re a streamer who has thousands of people begging to play with you.
Or, if you’re like a lot of people, you spend a majority of the time playing games with online strangers in casual play, or more stressful situations, like ranked play. Your experience ranges from mildly OK, to entirely infuriating, as in the case of Dunkey. What’s the point of playing online games if they aren’t fun after all?
There’s always single player games, but a lot of us, and myself included, love the social elements found in online games, the connections, the competition, and the ongoing communities that surround the game that give you stuff to read about every day–whether in the form of updates, expansions, or even new skins!
Sure there are gaming subreddits on Reddit like /r/gamer pals, or lesser known places like /r/mmogroup where Redditors can find friends. These are great communities that help players like you find connections or make friendships to bring into the virtual world. But these communities are limited, as they don’t have much structure, and they don’t serve as a central meeting place.
People come to these places, leave, spam, or do whatever they want because it’s not so much as a community, but an advertisement or message board. People don’t have accountability here, and it makes a lot of these connections mean less.
What are we doing about it?
FindGamingBuddies is a website entirely built around the concept of making online gaming meaningful again. Since online gaming has taken off completely, close-knit communities are getting harder and harder to make.
FindGamingBuddies is different than a typical forum. It’s an interactive website that lets any user pick their favorite game and find other gamers looking to play that game as well, based on a variety of different categories like playtime, skill, and even other games they are looking to play. It makes connections quicker, and more efficient.
Besides its smart sorting methodology and categorisation, the site also understands the importance of accountability, reputation, and lasting relationships. Users on the site can review one another based on what their experience was like with the person. Someone who is constantly toxic, not available when they say they are, or just not enjoyable to play with won’t get high ratings or a good reputation. While the opposite would find more success finding others of a similar style of play.
Ideally, the sorting method and profiles people build will help them find people who have play similar styles. The rating process can even exist as a sort of “thank you” or “thumbs up system” where players can feel rewarded for being a good teammate and possibly find more teammates to play with.
Users on the site can also discuss their favourite games and participate in the community. Ultimately, FindGamingBuddies wants to be the best free service and place for gamers to come together and play co-op games, organise tournaments, and community events.
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